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My cat attacked me...why, and how do I make sure the cuts don't get infected?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have had this cat for almost her entire life - since she was 2 weeks old. Bottle fed her and everything. She's 5 years old now and she has attacked once before, when someone pulled on her tail and ears, but this was the first time she has ever attacked without provocation. I was on my bed trying to unwrap something from its packaging when she flew out of nowhere and latched herself onto my hand and arm, scratching, biting and kicking. I had to throw her off and she hissed loudly and came at me again. I threw a blanket at her and tried to run out my bedroom door but she actually BACKED ME INTO A CORNER. I was yelling for my brother to come help me and he came running, and then he picked her up no problem and she began to settle down. I don't know what caused this to happen...she's afraid of some things, like the ceiling fan or brooms, so maybe it was the packaging freaked her out? She's also completely deaf, so it couldn't have been a sound.

I've heard cat bites can be incredibly infectious, but there's no way I could afford to go to the doctor...is there anything I can do to prevent infection? as soon as she was settled down I immediately went and poured hydrogen peroxide all over the cuts and bites...is there anything else I could do?

post #2 of 10
Because I too have a cat going deaf, I know they can be easily startled and more prone to hissing and biting. Your baby was probably frightened by the packaging - not necessarily by the noise but the movement.
First aid for cat bites - clean wound with soap and warm water, making sure to rinse away all the soap, put an antibiotic cream before covering with clean, dry dressing. If there is redness, pus, hot to the touch and swelling, it might have gotten infected. Then you will have to consult a doctor.
post #3 of 10
Another tip is to take a marker or a pen and draw around any red area around the wounds.

That way you can really easily see if the red area gets bigger.

If the wounds get hot, the red spreads and especially if you feel bad or get a fever then you need to go and get medical help. How bad are the punctures? They're usually more dangerious than the claw scratch type slices.

Be careful though, a friend of mine got bitten by her startled cat and she almost lost her arm and ended up being in hospital for a few days. I mean it's far from guaranteed to get that bad. Just watch yourself really carefully and do the draw around the red bits trick. It's great for monitoring what's going on but if it starts getting really bad go to the ER because you might be in danger if you don't.
post #4 of 10
I would recommend cleaning the wounds with hydrogen peroxide, to start with.

The sounds the packaging made might have been the trigger, but is it possible she saw another cat outside?
post #5 of 10
Peroxide can push debris back into the wound, as can pouring anything over them. This goes for all puncture wounds, not just bites. Did the bite wounds bleed a lot?

Cat bites are nasty and there's a very likely chance you will get an infection. My hand did get infected, even with antibiotics. It swelled up that night and was incredibly painful. I was left with an arm that was lovely shades of yellow and brown from the bruising it caused.
My youngest step sister ended up in the hospital back in February from a small bite to her finger. She did what you did, used peroxide and put some ointment on it thinking it was fine. The next morning her hand was swollen and she ended up being admitted to the hospital and was quite lucky that she didn't need surgery.

Think of it this way, doctor visit + medicine will cost a lot less then ER visit + being admitted to the hospital.
If you need an antibiotic you may very well end up on augmentin - I don't know where you are, but if you have a local walmart it will probably be cheaper there, otherwise that's a $50-$60 generic without insurance (currently on it myself for an infected tooth).

Is your kitty up to date on her shots? Do you have copy of her records or can you get them? You may want to get them first thing in the morning if you need them, just in case you do have to go to the doctor or hospital.
post #6 of 10
Animal bites can and do get infected, but I do not go to a doctor each time I get one. I do not know how bad your bite is. I would go to the doctor myself for a bite that needed to be stitched up or one that I couldn't, for some reason, clean well myself. (However, I was told by a doctor that they don't stitch bite wounds because of the large chance of infection; if you aren't going to stitch it, what do I need you for? Antibiotics when I have no signs of a dangerous infection? No thanks.) If you have puncture wounds, you should have a tetanus shot; hopefully, you've had one in the past 10 years, and so don't need to worry so much about that. For me (because I get bitten on a somewhat regular basis) it makes sense to simply keep current with a tetanus shot.

It sounds like you've done a good job at cleaning the wound, and the advice to outline any redness is good advice. Bleeding really does help to clean wounds out. I personally prefer dabbing my wounds with alcohol-soaked gauze or cotton, but just key and eye on it and chances are you'll be fine.
post #7 of 10
For the first time in my life, just recently, I went to the doctor about a cat injury. Anything that is a serious puncture wound, meaning a very small hole that went fairly deep, you should really haul yourself to the doctor to get a tetanus shot and get put on antibiotics. With cat bite wounds, they are VERY deep and VERY thin, so the bacteria gets trapped down inside the wound, which can lead to big problems - like tetanus or blood poisoning.

The thing that the doctor told me was particularly critical is that a puncture wound needs to be properly irrigated, and that's not typically something you want to do yourself, as it hurts horrifically (I screamed while they were doing it... it was so embarrassing.)

If it's just scratches - I've been scratched a million and one times by cats and never had any sort of a severe or serious reaction to it. The hydrogen peroxide should be plenty.

I had a bite on my hand, under my index finger, about a week and a half ago. I had a full course of antibiotics, and a tetanus shot, and painkillers, and I still couldn't use my first two fingers for several days, and am still having some pain. Puncture wounds can be really serious, and they can cause serious tissue or tendon damage. Get thee to a medical professional.
post #8 of 10
You can buy Polysporin cream/ointment in little tubes at any drugstore and should always have some around for a million reasons. The thing is though, that if it's not applied more or less right away (vs the next day) it's unlikely to help much. Real infections spread right away. However, if it makes you feel any better, serious bites are the things to worry about, but I've been scratched (seriously) by lots of cats lots of times (just goes with the territory) and never had anything happen - they all just healed up.
post #9 of 10
the noise you were making probably really freaked her out for some reason i would be very carefull with her around other people and different noises the scratchs and bites keep them clean and put any kind of ointment that is used to pervent infections on them good luck with the cat hope everything turns out fine
post #10 of 10
I would think something you were doing was scaring her. But like mrblanche said she could have seen a cat outside and misdirected her aggression toward you. I would watch it very closely and if you see anything or feel anything weird then please go to the ER.
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